#Twitterjoketrial accountant loses appeal

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John Stokdyk
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Paul Chambers, the finance manager who lost his job for posting a tweet threatening to blow Doncaster's Robin Hood Airport "sky high", has failed to get his conviction overturned.

According to a tweet posted from court by his lawyer @davidallengreen just after 4pm on Thursday 11 November which confirmed the verdict as "guilty".

Following his conviction in May for causing a "menace" under the Communications Act 2003, Chambers was fined £1,000 (£385 plus costs) and lost his job as a finance supervisor. His original fine stands, but following his failed appeal the costs are now in excess of £2,500.

In September, judges at Doncaster crown court heard arguments from lawyers acting for Chambers that his conviction should be overturned because the prosecution had not proved Chambers had intended to cause menace. The Twitter post was "hyperbolic banter", they argued.

But after considering the arguments for six weeks, the three judges turned down the appeal on all counts and ruled the message was "obviously menacing".

According to The Guardian's report from the appeal, Judge Jacqueline Davies commented, "The words in the message speak for themselves and they were sent at a time when the security threat to this country was substantial."

The verdict sent shockwaves around the Twitterverse, with campaigners tweeting a multitude of threatening messages and pledging support and funds. One of our followers, @quinex1, a finance director based in the East Midlands, tweeted: "Please would @AccountingWEBuk followers give @pauljchambers a chance to reclaim his career? It would make everyone happy."


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12th Nov 2010 12:44

A truly shocking verdict

My heart goes out to Mr Paul Chambers. A criminal record, lost job and who knows what future ramifications? A dreadful verdict. Where has common sense gone? Shame on the judges in this case!

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13th Nov 2010 09:26

Shame on these judges

A ridiculous verdict which CANNOT be allowed to stand.

The context in which a statement is made and all the circumstances must be considered, or, are we now to sa goodbye to freedom of speech?  

These judges should read more law books and stop reading so much George Orwell. 

How ironic that this verdict coincides with a bunch of muslim extremists burning poppies and threatening our troops - GENUINE THREATS - and NOTHING was done about that as police stood meekly by. 

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15th Nov 2010 10:31
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